Saffin secures $1.5-million boost for koala care in the Northern Rivers

Janelle Saffin MP has delivered on two of her key election commitments aimed at protecting koalas and other native wildlife here in the Northern Rivers region.

Janelle Saffin, the local Member for Lismore has delivered on her election commitment to provide additional support to wildlife hospitals, koala protection and research with $1.5 million in new funding provided to Northern Rivers wildlife care facilities.

Koalas in the state’s north will have a more secure future with $1.4 million allocated to complete building the Northern Rivers Wildlife Hospital in Wollongbar, a key election commitment made by Lismore MP Janelle Saffin.

In another of Ms Saffin’s delivered commitments, Northern Rivers koalas will receive protection against chlamydia, with 300 koalas to be vaccinated by the Friends of the Koala Hospital. The $110,000 grant will also be used by the group to develop a koala database.

This funding builds on previous NSW Government commitments to protect the region’s koalas from vehicle strike and degraded habitats.

Grants totalling $460,000 have been awarded to Lismore City, Tweed Shire, Ballina Shire, Richmond Valley and Clarence Valley councils for signage to alert drivers to slow down and watch for koalas in vehicle strike hotspots.

Koala habitat restoration is also underway in the Northern Rivers region, with $810,000 invested to restore 660 hectares across private land and national park estate.

The NSW Government is committed ensuring the long-term survival of koalas in the wild and each partnership with councils, land managers, community organisation and wildlife groups is an important step toward achieving that goal.

Quote attributable to Minister for Climate Change and the Environment Penny Sharpe:

“Janelle Saffin has fought tirelessly for this funding, and I am pleased that the NSW Government can deliver it.

“It is important that koalas have a bright future in NSW, which they do under this government thanks in part to the strong advocacy of Janelle Saffin.

“The NSW Government is taking steps to prevent koalas needing to be in veterinary care, and this funding helps to ensure that native wildlife have the best possible outcome when treated, and returned to the wild.”

Quote attributable to Member for Lismore, Janelle Saffin:

“The Northern Rivers Wildlife Hospital is wonderful. We have already turned the first sod but this $1.4 million in funding ensures its place within our network of native wildlife care.

“Our local communities love our iconic koalas and the $110,000 in funding will help protect them against chlamydia, and importantly, keep track of them.

“FOK (Friends of the Koala) in East Lismore is a fantastic organisation, professional, with compassionate and competent volunteers.

“I am proud to have advocated for and secured funding for these projects and very pleased to join Minister Sharpe to announce them here in the electorate.”

Quote attributable to Friends of the Koala:

“The licensing and funding to administer the chlamydia vaccine to koalas marks a significant leap forward in safeguarding our local population.

“We have recently seen a decline in community and corporate donations. We will continue to meet with the NSW Government to discuss ongoing support, but it will take all levels of government, corporate and philanthropic support to help us save this iconic species.”

EXPERT CARE: NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharpe and Lismore MP Janelle Saffin watch FOK Assistant Veterinary Nurse Liz McLeod vaccinate joey koala Maleny, rescued last December when her mum was found dead at the bottom of a tree. Veterinary Clinical & Research Director Dr Jodie Wakeman was also present.